From time to time I have the opportunity to ask parents, “Why do you send your child to Indian Rocks?” The answers vary – I have heard the academics, the sports, the Christian emphasis, it’s safer, it’s close and more recently because they went here as a student and want it for their children. All of these are valid reasons for choosing a school. What I think makes IRCS truly unique is that we are a balanced blend of all of these things. Balance is incredibly important in a Christian School.
Webster’s says that balance is, “stability resulting from the equalization of opposing forces.” Christian principles, academics, and extra-curricular activities are, at times, opposing forces. They are much like a video game joystick, if you move towards one of the choices you are moving away from the others. The principle of balance is one that we strive for at Indian Rocks Christian School. Failure to maintain balance in a Christian school can cause setbacks. Three areas of balance are the areas of academics, spiritual formation, and extra-curricular activities. If you look at our mission statement, the first stated area of concern is spiritual formation. “Our mission is to lead every student to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ while providing the highest quality of Christian education in an environment of genuine love and concern for each student and parent.” Honestly, you will always find this as our highest priority. This is one of the reasons you will find our strong emphasis on student mission trips in the spiritual formation process. One of the remarkable accomplishments from last year was that 59 of our 61 seniors went on at least one of our mission trip options during our mini-mester in their high school career. The impact is life changing. The average trips taken were 2.6 per student. Last year’s seniors had served in 15 countries and 5 states over their four year high school career.
Academics are also a key area. We strive to provide the “highest quality of Christian education” possible. A remarkable 40% of our teachers have earned Master’s degrees and 2 have doctorates. Through the years we have placed students throughout the state system (UF, FSU, UCF, USF, FAU, UNF, UWF, FGCU), at major Christian Universities (Liberty, Cedarville, Palm Beach Atlantic), and prestigious private schools (M.I.T., Harvard, Brown, NYU, William and Mary). We also have strong programs in athletics and the fine arts that many of our students participate in and enjoy. Many have moved on to college level athletics or arts as well.
Balance is also important when it comes to discipline. Ben Futoran did a devotional with the teachers this morning where he talked about just being a school of rules as opposed to giving students a positive view of what the Christian life can be. There needs to be a measure of grace, but there also must be truth. Without discipline, education becomes very difficult. On the other hand, if an environment is too strict and the students are miserable, it can be difficult to reach them or even drive them away. It is in Ben’s words, inoculating them against Christianity. We are striving to find that balance of the right amount of discipline coupled with the right amount of grace. This is to meet the goal of “an environment of genuine love and concern for each student and parent.”
Balance is an area that is important in every area of life; it is a priority at Indian Rocks Christian School.